Robert Pattinson being cast as Bruce Wayne has the internet in a whirlwind, which reminded me of the time Heath Ledger was cast as The Joker. By giving him a chance we got one of the greatest comic book movie performances of all time, so let’s give Robert Pattinson one. While this article isn’t going to be about that decision, we are going to throw out a few names of actors who could play Alfred Pennyworth, the trusted butler to Bruce Wayne. I have set a couple of rules: 1) nobody that has ever played him before will be considered, and 2) we will break the mold of the traditional look for the character.
Charles Dance is a true British thespian actor. He was one of the most interesting characters in Game of Thrones as Tywin Lannister, who often gave the best speeches throughout the show. Charles isn’t an actor that hasn’t made a big impact on the big screen either, with this year’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, while stepping into other popular films like Gosford Park and The Imitation Game. Charles is also an actor that isn’t afraid to take an edgy role which would break the mold of the English gentleman either. If you were to pick out a weakness for Charles as far as actors who could play Alfred Pennyworth, it would be the fact he has often been the villain and after his time in Game of Thrones, people might not want to see him in the role of Alfred.
Michael Keaton bought Bruce Wayne to life in the past, with many people’s favorite version of the character, and in a world where everybody likes to see the return of their favorite actors to updated franchises, Michael might be the strangest choice on this list and is only here because of the idea of having a wink to the Tim Burton Batman. If anybody could bring Alfred to life after playing Bruce Wayne it would be Michael, and he would bring his own flare to the character without trying to steal the scenes. The weakness here is clear: would the fans really want to see Keaton return to the franchise as Alfred?
Brian Cox is no stranger to the comic book movies. He was arguably the best villain within the X-Men universe as William Stryker and was the first man to step into the shoes of Hannibal Lector in Manhunter. Being a British actor, he is always going to be suggested as one of the actors who can play Alfred Pennyworth, and he could easily handle it, too. He does have a voice you could listen to narrate a story when needed. The weakness Brian would have would come from the fact he has been a villain before and is more often than not known as ‘that guy’ by the casual film fan.
Jared Harris is the youngest pick that I have made. He is currently stealing the show in Chernobyl after making a big impact in The Crown. This might have made him a big name on television, but he has never got a big chance in a movie. He could easily walk into an English butler role and would offer the longest future in the role. While Jared would be a strong choice for left field pick, his weakness would come from his lack of star power.
Geoffrey Rush is an Oscar winner, which he won for his performance in The King’s Speech where he plays Lionel Logue, who taught King George VI how to speak in public. He has also bought Captain Barbossa to life in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise who was a well-spoken man that could easily control a room of people… well, in that case, pirates. Alfred would be a wonderful pick for him because we know he has the pure talent to step into this role, to make it his own. Geoffrey’s big weakness would be his own personal choice; after having his name wrongfully dragged through the gossip columns, he might choose to stay out of the spotlight for a while.
Sam Neill was lucky enough to be part of one of the most iconic moments in film history in Jurassic Park. He brought Dr. Alan Grant to life, and after this, we saw him take on a string of roles which would challenge him as an actor. Like most of the names on this list, he has played the mentor figure with Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Bicentennial Man and even Jurassic Park III, to name a few. Each one of these offered him a different reason for becoming the mentor, showing that he could offer a larger range for the film. Sam doesn’t have the same weaknesses that other actors might, though he might not be one of the first choices when it comes to any action scenes.
Ian McShane is the oldest selection I have made. In recent years he has been the mentor in the unpopular Hellboy remake, the calming manager in the John Wick franchise and on television in American Gods. Ian has always been a popular figure in film and television for years now, which would make him an easy choice to become one of the most iconic mentor figures in comic book history. Ian’s weakness would be that his smart look just doesn’t look like anything the comic books have shown us before.
Dennis Haysbert once played the President of the United States of America in 24. He controlled the screen with his presence in nearly every scene for the first couple of seasons of that show, and he will bring the mentor-like narration required to make him stand by Bruce. Dennis would bring a presence to anybody who visited Wayne Manor which would provide interesting scenes for visitors welcome or unwelcome. Dennis’s biggest weakness would be the fact he hasn’t ever been a major movie star, with his strongest work coming from television.
Christoph Waltz is a two-time Oscar-winning actor, who has played both the hero and the villain with ease. In Django Unchained, he became the mentor figure for a younger man in Django, remaining calm, guiding him through the world, almost handling the business, for the action to be unleashed by Django. Elsewhere Christoph has shown his stealth figure in Alita: Battle Angel, where he was willing to get down and dirty while protecting a young figure in his life. Christoph has shown through the years he can become a mentor figure, the biggest thing holding him back would be that he could easily be the villain of any Batman movie.
Who do you think are the actors who could play Alfred Pennyworth in The Batman? Let us know in the comments.